Disciplinary Charges against President J Zuma for bringing the ANC into disrepute Our revolutionary document – Through the eye of a needle? Choosing the best cadres to lead transformation – posits that “a leader should lead by example. He or she should be above reproach in his political and social conduct — as defined by our revolutionary morality. Through force of example, he should act as a role model to ANC members and non-members alike. Leading a life that reflects commitment to the strategic goals of the NDR includes not only being free of corrupt practices; it also means actively fighting against corruption.” Can we truthfully say this about our President? Is he a positive role model to ANC members (and South Africans in general)? Is he above reproach (in both his political and social conduct)? Is he “free of corrupt practices” and “actively fighting” corruption? Does he put the welfare, dignity and integrity of the ANC – as the highest law for all ANC members – first?Comrade SG, I am confident that you will agree that the ANC – as an organisation – is far greater than the membership who comprises it. Accordingly, and in line with rule 25.1.(a) “all members, without exception” are equal and completely subordinate to the authority of the ANC’s Constitution. Therefore, my resubmission that the president of the ANC be exposed to the disciplinary processes as outlined in our Constitution, is not intended to be mischievous, but rather aimed at helping us to organisationally arrive at the truth of all the rumours of corruption and innuendo surrounding our president and by extension our party. For this reason we need to heed the maxim that if people perceive our leader to be corrupt they may view the ANC itself as corrupt.
As stated in the preamble of our Constitution “the fundamental goal of the African National Congress remains to construct a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society in South Africa.” Therefore it becomes the responsibility of all ANC members to ensure that we build a country united in our diversity.
Read: What Did Zuma Say To Mantashe‚ Ramaphosa, Mkhize?
My submission for the ANC President to be formally charged and to appear at an ANC Disciplinary hearing is primarily based on the recent cabinet reshuffle, the Public Protector reports “Secure in Comfort” (March 2014) and the “The State of Capture” (October 2016), the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla which found that the president had neglected his oath of office as well as various contentious statements made by the President.
To this end, it will not be incorrect to state that President Jacob Zuma’s presidency of the ANC (and the country) has been plagued by allegations of corruption, sexist comments towards women, religious bigotry (the ANC will govern until Jesus returns – Parliament disruptions are against the Bible: 4/12/16), poor leadership decisions, accusations of self-aggrandisement, a divided party and a disintegrating Alliance. This, in itself, is in contradiction with our constitutional oath to “defend the unity and integrity of the Organisation and its principles, and combat any tendency towards disruption and factionalism” both within the ANC (and the Alliance).
The Constitutional Court cases CCT 143/15 and CCT 171/15 (Date of hearing: 09 February 2016 Date of judgment: 31 March 2016) clearly found that the President had failed to “comply with the remedial action taken against him, by the Public Protector” and that his actions were “inconsistent with section 83(b) of the Constitution read with sections 181(3) and 182(1)(c) of the Constitution”. In addition, the Court also ruled that the National Assembly’s resolution exonerating the President was inconsistent with the Constitution and subsequently unlawful. In effect the Court found that the President had failed to uphold the Constitution (p22). Consequently, the Court declared the conduct of the President and the National Assembly inconsistent with their constitutional obligations. This is indeed a serious finding and requires that the ANC institute disciplinary processes against the President.
Read: Zuma Asked To Quit – ANC
As outlined in the preamble of our Constitution “the fundamental goal of the African National Congress remains to construct a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society in South Africa”. Accordingly Rule 2.1 of the ANC Constitution identifies as one of our party’s aims and objectives “to unite all the people of South Africa”. I contend that our President has failed to unite the people of South Africa or the ANC.
Although I sympathize with the National Working Committee’s (NWC 6/7 November 2016) view – that calls for President Zuma’s resignation on the basis of the State of Capture report alone is premature, I disagree that such calls are “unfounded.” Section 2.6 of our Constitution clearly defines that the ANC – and therefore all ANC members – must promote economic development for the benefit of all South Africans. If we look at the sudden economic rise of the Gupta family and the great riches acquired by some Zuma family members it can be argued that the ANC president is in breach of this ANC objective.
State capture is generally defined as “a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage”. Therefore, it encapsulates both economic and political corruption. In other words there cannot be any state capture if there is no political dishonesty or political capture. This is clearly a breach of section 2.6 of the ANC’s constitutional aims and objectives as state capture allows for the enrichment of the chosen few or politically well-connected compared to our organisational aim and objective to “promote economic development for the benefit of all” our people.
Regarding, the most recent Cabinet reshuffle, it is clear that the action of the ANC president is impacting negatively on the unity of the organization!
- ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe (31/03/2017): “We were given a list that was complete and my own view as the Secretary General, I felt like this list has been developed somewhere else and it’s given to us to legitimise it. And my own view is that I’m very uncomfortable because areas where ministers do not perform have not been touched. Ministers have been moved and the majority of them were good performing ministers. I’m very much uncomfortable with it.””
- Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (31/03/2017): “He (Zuma) met with ANC officials. It was just a process of informing us of his decision. It was not a consultation because he came with a ready-made list. I raised my concern and objection on the removal of the Minister of Finance, largely because he was being removed based on an intelligence report that I believe had unsubstantiated allegations.” Comrade DP Ramaphosa added that He strongly objected “to the removal of the Minister of Finance and his deputy is being based on spurious allegations.”
- Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu (31/03/2017) also publicly voiced his disagreement with the removal of Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy-Minister Mcebisi Jonas and dismissed allegations raised in the intelligence report as “plain rubbish”.
- Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize (1/04/2017) called on the party leadership to seriously evaluate the recent Cabinet reshuffle. He raised party concerns about the process followed and the manner in which this Cabinet reshuffle was done and warned of undesirable consequences for the ANC.
I am of the opinion that any person reading these statements, and monitoring the media environment; will conclude that the ANC is a divided organisation!
I therefore submit, comrade SG that a need exists for an internal disciplinary process to be immediately instituted against the President of the ANC, JZ Zuma, in order to bring organisational clarity as to whether he has, through his actions and statements, divided the ANC and brought our party into disrepute.
To this end, our ANC constitution defines “disrepute” as “the absence or loss of reputation, discredit or disgrace”. Any ordinary person will be able to point out that the ANC suffered a loss of reputation (as witnessed by the decline in support during the local government election on 3 August 2016) and that the actions of our party president are discrediting and harming our movement.
As ANC members we have a constitutional duty to always “behave honestly” as outlined in section 5.2.7 of our Constitution and can question – to some extent – the behaviour and levels of honesty of our President. This was evident when the ANC President announced in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) that he had not been provided with an opportunity to interact with and answer the questions raised by the former Public Protector. Subsequently a four-hour recording was released disputing the President’s claim. Here we need to remind ourselves that our elected party leadership remains collectively accountable to all party members and organisational structures and that their actions have direct implications on the ANC itself.
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The code of conduct, in the context of the ANC constitution, encompasses both actions and utterances of its members. Accordingly the President of the ANC must face the following charges of misconduct:
President Zuma is in breach of section 25.17.3: “… breaching the provisions of this Constitution;”
Further breaches as outlined in section 25.17: The following conduct by a member, office bearer or public representative shall constitute misconduct in respect of which disciplinary proceedings may be invoked and instituted against him or her:
25.17.4 Behaving in a manner or making any utterance which brings or could bring or has the potential to bring or as a consequence thereof brings the ANC into disrepute;
25.17.5 Sowing…, sexism, …political intolerance, regionalism or any other form of discrimination;
25.17.6 Behaving in a manner which provokes or is likely to provoke or has the potential to provoke division or impact negatively on the unity of the ANC; (additional evidence of this is the fact that several cabinet Ministers and NEC members and branches have called for the president to be recalled – NEC meeting 24-26 November 2016)
25.17.8 Abuse of elected or employed office in the Organisation or in the State to obtain any direct or indirect undue advantage or enrichment; (State of Capture report – although this can only be determined through the properly constituted and appointed commission as suggested by the former PP)
25.17.9 Participating in any organised factional activity that goes beyond the recognised norms of free debate inside the ANC and which threatens its unity; (various statements made referring to unidentified members as “enemies” at work within the ANC)
25.17.16 Prejudicing the integrity or repute of the Organisation, …by:
220.127.116.11 creating divisions within its ranks or membership;
18.104.22.168 doing any other act which undermines the ANC’s effectiveness as an organisation;
As confirmed in the hearing of former ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, there is no obligation on any complainant to set out evidence in the allegations to a charge. The hearing also reaffirmed that all ANC members subscribe to the constitution of the organisation and are bound by the ANC membership oath and the code of conduct. Thus, the ANC has the right to discipline its members for breaching the code of conduct and oath.
From this we can originate the following charges of misconduct against President Zuma:
- The abuse of his office (both as ANC President and President of the Republic of South Africa) for personal gain;
- Bringing the ANC into disrepute;
- Behaving in a manner which is creating and or sowing divisions within the ranks of the ANC
- Creating and sowing division amongst South Africans. and
- Failing to uphold his ANC membership oath.
If we are not careful, and should we fail to act, the ANC will begin to lose its role as champion and protector of the people – especially the poor! Ironically our Polokwane conference overwhelmingly rejected any attempt to turn the ANC into an instrument for self-enrichment and self-aggrandisement while re-affirming our duty to serve the people and to always put their interests first! Polokwane also reaffirmed and reasserted the democratic character of the ANC in which elected leadership are accountable to the base and always serve at the pleasure of the membership and branches.
The President of the ANC, as is the responsibility of each and every member of the party, must be at the forefront of building and unifying the ANC and our alliance partners. However, we find ourselves in the unfortunate situation where alliance partners themselves are calling for the president to step aside. A stubborn refusal to do so threatens what we are constitutionally obliged to do – defend the unity of the ANC.
In a recent statement following the disciplinary hearing of suspended Western Cape Leader Marius Fransman, the ANC maintained that “discipline is the glue that holds the ANC together. There is no room in the ANC for leaders and members, irrespective of position or seniority, who show scant regard for the values and objectives of the ANC and who consciously choose to define themselves outside the organisation in breach of their membership oath.”
Our Constitution and Through the Eye of the Needle reminds us that members are ultimately responsible for maintaining and sustaining the character of our movement, to identify critical challenges and – at all times – to protect the health and integrity of our movement. It is in this light that I sadly bring these charges against the president of our party.
We dare not fail our people, millions of supporters/voters and the hundreds of thousands of active ANC members as our failure to act decisively will contribute towards the destruction of our 105-year-old political home! Therefore, as ANC members, it is our revolutionary duty to protect the integrity and dignity of the ANC.
I look forward to your office taking the relevant steps to institute disciplinary charges and processes against president Zuma in his capacity as an ANC member.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Republic Mail